Costas Tonight Begins on NBC Sports Thursday with a Star-studded NFL Town Hall

INDIANAPOLIS – January 31, 2012 – NBC Sports Group presents the premier edition of 22-time Emmy Award-winning journalist Bob Costas’ live town hall series, Costas Tonight: Live From the Super Bowl, Thursday, 8-10 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. The two-hour live program features some of the NFL’s biggest newsmakers and stars while taking a comprehensive look at the NFL from the Super Bowl host city just three nights before the big game.

Costas Tonight: Live from the Super Bowl will take place in front of a live studio audience from the Indiana Repertory Theater on, and will include a one-on-one interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Joined in a town hall setting by some of the biggest names in the sport, Costas will explore all of the headlines and critical issues facing the game, from the evolution of the NFL head coach to the all-important topic of safety on the field.


Roger Goodell – NFL Commissioner

Jerry Jones – Owner, Dallas Cowboys

Robert Kraft – Owner, New England Patriots

John Harbaugh – Head Coach, Baltimore Ravens

Tony Gonzalez – TE, Atlanta Falcons

Dwight Freeney – DE, Indianapolis Colts

Philip Rivers – QB, San Diego Chargers

Larry Fitzgerald – WR, Arizona Cardinals

Jeff Saturday – C, Indianapolis Colts

In addition, NBC Sports’ Super Bowl Commentators:

Al Michaels

Cris Collinsworth

Tony Dungy

Rodney Harrison


· Costas one-on-one with Commissioner Roger Goodell;

· State of the Game – panelists will discuss important issues in today’s NFL including: player safety, performance-enhancing drugs, end zone celebrations and ticket prices;

· Coaches Panel – A look at the state of coaching in the NFL, past and present;

· Panel with NBC’s Super Bowl XLVI broadcasters looking ahead to the big game.

Additionally, there will be a “Hot Zone” in the audience of the Indiana Repertory Theater for Costas and the panelists to interact with past and present NFL players, journalists and NFL insiders Peter King of Football Night in America and Sports Illustrated and Mike Florio of Football Night and ProFootballTalk on

CBS Becomes Home of the NCHC

CBS Sports Network has agreed to a multi-year agreement with the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, beginning in the 2013-2014 season. CBS Sports Network will be the exclusive national television partner for the conference, which will feature eight of the nation’s top college hockey programs. The announcement was made today by Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports Network, and Jim Scherr, Commissioner of the National.

The agreement calls for a minimum of 18 conference games, including the National’s semifinal and championship contests. Currently six teams that will be in the new conference are ranked in the Top 20 poll.


“With top teams and passionate fan bases, the National is poised to be an elite college hockey conference, and we’re thrilled to be the national television partner,” said Weinberg. “College hockey has been a staple of our programming and we’re pleased to expand our coverage and further serve fans with compelling and competitive conference action.”

“We are delighted to be associated with the preeminent national broadcaster of college hockey,” said Scherr. “It is our goal to be the premier single-sport conference in intercollegiate athletics and the unmatched exposure and production quality that will be provided by CBS Sports Network will contribute significantly to realizing that vision.”

Currently, CBS Sports Network’s comprehensive college hockey coverage includes action from Hockey East, ECAC, CCHA, WCHA and Atlantic Hockey.


Updated NHL and College Hockey Ratings for the Week of January 16th

Monday, January 16

6:00 NBC Sports Talk – 29,000 viewers
NHL Live – 57,000
Dallas vs. St. Louis – 238,000
NHL Live 66,000
NHL Overtime – 42,000

Tuesday, January 17

6:00 NBC Sports Talk 52,000
NHL Live 24,000
Nashville vs. NY Rangers – 224,000
NHL Live 120,000
12:00 NHL Overtime 23,000

Wednesday, January 18

6:00 NBC Sports Talk – 10,000
NHL Live 107,000
Buffalo vs. Chicago – 466,000
NHL Live 168,000
NHL Overtime – 49,000

Friday, January 20
NBC Sports Talk – 15,000
CNBC Sports Biz: Game On! – 8,000
Michigan vs. Notre Dame – 74,000
NHL Overtime 34,000

(Source: The Voice of TV)

The Ratings Are Fine, So is the All-Star Game Fine, Too?

I watched about 95% of the National Hockey League’s All-Star weekend up in Ottawa over the past four days. I tuned into the Fantasy Draft, the Skills Competition, the game itself, and stuck around for a bit of NHL Network’s media day coverage, and NBCSp’s episode of NHL Overtime that came after Harvard-Yale on Friday night. I kept watching and kept watching and didn’t question the fact that I was watching. I love hockey, I don’t care about basketball, there was no football or baseball that weekend, what else was I going to do? I watched the hockey-related programming that was available to me. Was it perfect? No. But it didn’t make me turn away from what was going on.

Does the fact that I wasn’t alone in this group of activities justify this much-maligned weekend? Does that turn it into an unfairly-maligned weekend? Or are we all really just hockey and NHL junkies, waiting, craving for our next fix?

More than two million people across North America tuned in to the All-Star Fantasy Draft. The full numbers aren’t in yet, but based on last year’s equivalent, more than four million people across the continent likely tuned in to both Saturday night’s Skills Competition and Sunday afternoon’s All-Star Game. This will be the same as last year in America, and up to record-setting levels in Canada, above even the game held in Montreal in 2009 in both countries. Now, the system of measuring viewership is different in Canada now and has provided both CBC and TSN with records seemingly every year at some point, but the question is still worth asking.

Is the All-Star Game just okay? Does it take too much heat for not having enough “importance” and not really meaning anything, when all people really want out of it is a fun little break from the intense NHL regular season? Just a chance to see all their favorite players (who aren’t concussed) interact with each other and have fun for a weekend? The ratings, and the fan interest in the markets where the game is held, seemed to indicate a very emphatic “Yes” to all of the above.

The fact is, while there is very little covering up the fact that All-Star weekend is a chance for the league to hobnob with it’s corporate partners, it seems to make everyone happy. It makes the cities they’re hosted in a lot of money, with Columbus already projecting $12 million for next year’s game. As mentioned previously, the TV ratings are good, especially when considering NBC Sports Network/VERSUS has yet to draw 1 million viewers for a meaningful regular season game, and that CBC is setting all time records considering the game has been held in Canada’s two biggest hockey markets (Montreal and Toronto) in the past 12 years. The fans at the game and the experience seem to be having a blast, and the players seem to finally be coming around to the event as well.

The All-Star Game clearly has it’s supporters. While some have pitched improvements – some have wondered why they don’t play it outdoors, Glenn Healy suggested playing it in Europe – why bother, if the numbers prove that fans are engaged with it? Coming out of the lockout, the ratings were bad for numerous reasons: after skipping one year, they held it on a Wednesday night in Dallas, then a year later went to Atlanta, and numbers went up a little. They went up a little more in Montreal, before it departed for a year and came back to 22% improvements, which were stable this year. Perhaps the lockout was just another part of hockey that people needed to discover in a post-lockout world. It wasn’t giving a real shot to succeed the first couple of years, but is finally finding itself.

So forget doing Europe (why take the revenue away from the other cities you could host the game in?) or outdoors (why potentially ruin two of the league’s biggest cash cows?), maybe the NHL All-Star Game just needs to be kept the way it is. It isn’t perfect, and the game means nothing and features subpar hockey. For whatever reason, however, people seem to like it, and in greater numbers each year. That’s something the league can’t ignore, and it is something that the ever-critical internet’s worth of hockey fans constantly slagging it cant ignore either.